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This is the first part of an incredible tour focused in endemic and near-endemic birds of Colombia, in where is possible to see 35 endemic and 51 near endemics in Eastern, Central and Western Andes. A tour in where the number of birds can pass 550 species and you will enjoy the magical mountains, nice temperatures and amazing landscapes of this beautiful and mega-diverse country! Enjoy also the coffee culture in the different villages that you will visit in this route.
Arrival to El Dorado International Airport in Bogota, you will be transfer in a private transportation to a hotel in the city; if you arrive early you will can take dinner in hotel and this will be included; our guide or represent of Manakin Nature Tours will be waiting for you in the airport or hotel.
We will leave early in the morning for Chingaza National Park high in the eastern Andes, a really nice paramo ecosystem with many interesting species and landscapes. In the afternoon we will visit La Calera Hummingbird Garden I where you can see some of the most important species of hummers in eastern Andes and after we will come back to Bogota to rest! Other interesting birds this day include: Coopery-bellied Puffleg, Rufous-browed Conebill, Purple-backed Thronbill, Paramo Seedeater, Plush-capped Finch, Pale-naped Brush-Finch, Smoky Bush-Tyrant, Black-billed Mountain Toucan, Black-headed Hemispingus and many more.
We will search birds in Monterredondo location in the cloud forest of eastern Andes. A trip of 3 hours from Bogota to find some of the most important birds on the ridge. In the afternoon we will come back to Bogota to rest in same hotel. Some birds of interest this day include: Andean Pygmy-Owl, Golden-crowned Tanager, Andean Guan, Green and Black Fruiteater, Glittering-throated Emerald, Green-bellied Hummingbird, Crimson-mantlet Woodpecker, Blackish Tapaculo, Black collared Jay, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager and many more.
This day we will search birds in the amazing and so beautiful Sumapaz National Park or Paramo de Sumapaz, in where the landscape and the diversity of birds, and plants, will be the attraction, in the afternoon we will transfer to the colonial city of Tunja to rest in a nice hotel in the downtown. You will can see some very interesting birds as Red-rumped Bush-Tyrant, Red-crested Cotinga, Black-chested Buzzard Eagle, Many-striped Canastero, Chestnut-winged Cinclodes, Plain-capped Ground-Tyrant, Tawny Antpitta, Andean Ruddy Duck, and many more.
We will visit the gardens of Roberto Chavaro in Rogitama Reserve, a clear example of conservation in this area of Colombia in where we will search some important species of hummingbirds; in the afternoon we will transfer to Soata village at north-east a nice community close to the dry forest of Chicamocha Canon; we will see birds also in Paramo de Susacon on the road to Soata. Some interesting birds this day include: Lazuline Sabrewing, Yellow-breasted Brush-Finch, Azare´s Spinetail, Noble Snipe, Grassland Yellow-Finch, Sedge Wren, Black-tailed Trainbearer and many more.
All the morning we will explore the beautiful Oak Forest of Soata in where we will search some very important species; in the afternoon we will come back to the same forest searching more new birds. Some interest birds this day include: Black-capped Tyrannulet, Red-hooded Tanager, Mountain Woodcreeper, Bicoloured Hawk, Blue-black Tanager, Bluish Flowerpiercer, Pale-adge Flycatcher, Brown-capped Vireo, Scale-crested Pygmy Tyrant, Smoky-browned Woodpecker, Tyrian Metaltail and many more.
Near-Endemic Birds: (8) Golden-bellied Starfrontlet
We will search more birds in the dry forest of Chicamocha Canon, a very nice place with an amazing landscape of pale mountains and spiny vegetation. In the afternoon we will transfer to Bogota city again to rest. Some interesting birds this day include: Bicoloured Wren, White-tailed Kite, Golden-crowned Warbler, Buff-breasted Wood-Wren, Pearly vented Cuckoo, Bare-faced Ibis, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Pale-eyed Pygmy-Tyrant, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Crimson-backed Tanager, Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Yellow-throated Vireo and many more.
We will fight early in the morning to Pereira city to move to Otun-Quimbaya National Park, a beautiful cloud forest on the heart of central Andes. We will search some birds on the road that include Red-faced Spinetail, Mustached Puffbird, Bronze winged Parrot, Long-bill Starthroat, Yellow-faced Grassquit, Golden-bellied Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird and many more.
We will look for wonderful birds all day in the Otun-Quimbaya Sanctuary of Fauna and Flora; this is a lovely place in the central Andes with some very important and rare birds; we’ll search for birds on a little-used road or on the paths inside the forest. Otun is very good for owling, so we do night explorations in this reserve / Night in Otun-Quimbaya National Park. Some interesting birds in Otun for this day are: Golden-plumed Parakeet Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Chestnut-breasted Wren Wattled Guan, Marble-faced Bristle-Tyrant, Andean Solitaire, Oleagineous Hemispingus, Golden-headed Quetzal, White-winged Becard, Western Emerald, Crimson-rumped Toucanet, Emerald Toucanet, Spotted Barbtail, Speckle faced Parrot and many more.
We will search incredible birds in this new location for birding in central Andes in where recently was rediscover a new population of the critical endangered Fuerte´s Parrot; a fantastic cloud forest in La Finca El Cortaderal in Santa Rosa de cabal municipality; in the afternoon we will transfer to Montezuma Reserve in the Choco Bio-Region. Some important birds that are possible to see in this location include also, Grey-breasted Mountain Toucan, Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Ocellated Tapaculo, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Dusky Piha, Hooded Mountain Tanager and many more.
Montezuma is one of the best places to bird in Colombia, with an elevation gradient on the track from 1100 to 2800 meters, making this places one of the most diverse areas in all Colombia with more than 600 species recorded. We can see many endemics and near-endemics of the Choco Region; we will explore in two complete days 4 different spots on the birding track: Los Chorros (highest spot), Cajones (medium spot) and Clarita and Rio Claro (lower spots). The diversity in this four spots is special. Some very important birds in Montezuma for this two days include: Sickle-winged Guan, Western Emerald, White-tailed Hillstar, Greenish Puffleg, Crested and Golden-headed Quetzal, White-faced Nunbird, Lineated Foliage-gleaner, Streak-capped Treehunter, Barred and Scaled Fruiteater, Bronze-olive Pygmy-Tyrant, Olivaceous Piha, Flame-faced Tanager, Tricolored Brush-Finch, Chestnut-breasted Chlorophonia, Black-winged Saltator, Red-headed Barbet, Rufous-breasted Antthrush, Striped Manakin, Zeledon´s Antbird, Ochre-breasted Antpitta, Barred Hawk, Chestnut-headed Oropendola, Lanceolated Monklet, Brown-billed Scytebill, Scale-crested Pygmy-Tyrant, Ruddy Foliage-Gleaner, Golden Tanager, White-headed Wren and many more.
We will search more birds in the low elevations of Montezuma, after lunch, we will transfer to Manizales city in central Andes in where we will rest.
All day birding in Rio Blanco Natural Reserve, one of the most famous places in Colombia to see birds by the Antpitta feeders; in this location the mixed flocks and the amazing number of birds are fantastic and very easy to see. We will search at night for some owl and nightjar species. Some interesting birds to see in Rio Blanco include: Rusty-faced Parrot Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Slate-crowned Antpitta, Undulated Antpitta, Chestnut-naped Antpitta Dusky Piha, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Powerful Woodpecker, Masked Saltator, Ocellated Tapaculo, Ash-coloured Tapaculo, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Barred Fruiteater, Black-collared Jay, Buff-breasted Mountain-Tanager, Golden-plumed Parakeet, Red-hooded Tanager, Lyre-tailed Nightjar, Swallow-tailed Nightjar, White-throated Hawk, Black-capped Hemispingus, Yellow-billed Cacique, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, White-throated Screech-Owl, Rufous-banded Owl, Wedge-billed Hummingbird, Bronzy Inca and many more.
Birding in the high elevations (4,000 meters) in Los Nevados National Park (Nevado del Ruiz), an incredible paramo in the central Andes with many special birds and amazing landscapes; we will visit the fantastic hummingbird feeders of “termales” in where you will can see some amazing hummers; in the afternoon we will transfer to Jardin Village in Antioquia department, one of the most beautiful little village in Colombia. Some important birds possible to see in el Ruiz include: Andean Condor, Andean Duck, Paramo Tapaculo, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, Noble Snipe, Andean Pygmy Owl, Sword-bellied Hummingbird, Shining Sunbean, Golden-breasted Puffleg, Rainbow-bearded Thornbill, Viridian Metaltail, Many-striped Canastero, White-chinned Thistletail, Andean Tit-Spinetail, White- capped Tanager, Paramo Seedeater, Slate-coloured Seedeater, Golden-crowned Tanager and many more.
We’ll watch birds all day in the Yellow-eared Parrot Reserve, the best place in Colombia to see this very important species of parrot; we’ll search for birds in Alto de Ventanas locations on the road from Jardin to Rio Sucio village; we’ll have breakfast and lunch in the field, and early in the morning we’ll search for some owls on the road; we’ll come back to Jardin in the afternoon to rest.
Some birds possible in Jardin are: Black-billed Mountain-Toucan, Yellow-vented Woodpecker, Spillmann’s Tapaculo, Blackish Tapaculo, Ocellated Tapaculo, Rufous-crowned Tody-Flycatcher, Green-and-black Fruiteater, Barred Fruiteater, Golden-collared Honeycreeper, Chestnut-crested Cotinga, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Rufous Antpitta, Chestnut-naped Antpitta, Black-collared Jay, Streak-throated Bush-Tanager, Lachrymose Mountain-Tanager, Rufous-breasted Chat-Tyrant, Sharp´s Wren, White-browed Spinetail and many more.
Early in the morning we’ll visit the amazing lek of Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (one of the best in the neo-tropics), where the birds come 2-3 meters close to us. Sometimes it’s possible to see 20-25 males calling. After breakfast in Jardin we will transfer to Bolombolo, near the Cauca River, a nice dry forest that has some very interesting and important birds. In the afternoon we will transfer to Urrao Vilage close to Las Orquideas National Park. Some important birds in Jardin and Bolombolo include: Black-chested Jay, Andean Cock of the Rock, Speckle-breasted Wren, Black-striped Sparrow, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Spectacled Parrotlet, Rufous-naped Greenlet, Moustached Puffbird, Golden-crowned Warbler, Greenish Elaenia, Chestnut-capped Brush-Finch and many more.
Early in the morning we will leave from Urrao village in direction to Starfrontlet Reserve in Las Orquideas National Park; a nice walk of 2 hours on a beautiful valley with amazing cloud forest around, in where is possible to see so beautiful birds. We will visit antpitta and hummingbird feeders on the reserve in where we will have some important targets. In the afternoon we will come back to Urrao and Medellin at night. Some important birds that are possible to see in Starfrontlet include: Tawny-breasted Tinamou, Black-throated Flowerpiercer, Slaty-backed Chat-Tyrant, Mask Trogon and many more.
In the morning we’ll visit La Romera Natural Reserve in Sabaneta village, a nice secondary forest on Medellin Mountains; we’ll have lunch in a typical “paisa” restaurant, and in the afternoon we will move to Medellin city to finish this amazing birding tour. Some birds in La Romera Reserve include: Pale-eyed Thrush, Green Jay, Slate-throated Whitestar, Black-billed Peppershirke, Golden-naped Tanager, Black-capped Tanager, Andean Motmot and many more.
International Flight to home from Bogota
Hola Manakin – Luis, Andrea, Hernan, Nelson, Lydia.
It was my great pleasure during March and April, to enjoy a second visit to Colombia’s wonderful diversity. My first visit had been four years earlier, and I had become just a little apprehensive that a second journey might duplicate the first and thus lack the excitement of new discovery. Happily, any doubts were quickly dispelled as we began the first of two journeys to the south of the country, areas not available to my first visit.
I was travelling with three companions of earlier journeys (though not to first-time Colombia), and we enjoyed the expert and excellent guidance and company of Hernan and Nelson, not forgetting Lydia, who added considerable charm to our travels.
A great trip. Everything in place. Good birding. Good wildlife watching. Good botany. Good guidance. Good food. Good company. Our grateful thanks for it all.